Paint filly is first Seabiscuit descendent born at Ridgewood Ranch in 50 years
Willits News, The (CA) - Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Author: Maureen Moore/TWN/Staff writer
The clipity-clop of little hooves are once again being heard at Ridgewood Ranch as descendents of the legendary racehorse, Seabiscuit return to the historic ranch.
On May 13, in the mare barn's stall No. 15, Josephine, a bay, Tobiano filly , became the first descendent of Seabiscuit to be born at the ranch in more than 50 years.
Josephine's owners, Jacqueline and Tim Cooper of American Legend Horse Farm in Redwood Valley, specialize in breeding horses of Seabiscuit 's line. The Coopers say their goal is "to recreate history with our thoroughbred and Appendix quarter horse breeding operation."
Josephine's dam, First Class Lacegold, or Lacy for short, also is descended from a Seabiscuit relative. Her dam was Lucky Racer, a bay thoroughbred known to take after Seabiscuit . Lacy's sire, First Class Gold, belongs to Joan Craighead, also well known for her Willits horse breeding facility. Josephine's sire, Champs Reflexion, is a homozygous black-and-white paint stallion owned by Butler Meadows.
"We try to keep a historic perspective in mind with our horse-breeding operation," Jacqueline explained. "We chose to breed Lacy to Champs Reflexion to honor one of Charles Howard's favorite saddle horses, Tick Tock, also a black-and-white paint ."
Howard's other favorite saddlehorse, Chulo, a palomino overo, was a Seabiscuit stablemate and is thought to have been stabled in the same stall where Josephine was born three months ago.
"Lacy was our first broodmare when we started our modest horse-breeding operation in 2003," Jacqueline said. "Being a wise, old and experienced mare, she has taught me quite a lot about horse breeding and the foaling process."
A day after foaling Josephine, Lacy showed signs of distress and the Coopers decided to rush her to UC Davis where several veterinarians worked around the clock to try to help save the ailing mare. But due to complications in giving birth, Lacy died just days after foaling, leaving Josephine in the care of the Coopers.
"Being orphaned at such a young age, and with 10 days spent in the ICU, it was vital to graft Josephine to a nurse mare," Jacqueline explained. "Due to divine intervention, I met Kim Wright, owner of Wrights Walkers of Lake County. Our paths crossed one day while visiting our local veterinarian's office. Kim saw I was greatly distressed about Josephine's critical condition and expressed concern. She felt compelled to help and offered to provide us a nurse mare, Midnight, a beautiful spotted Tennessee walking horse."
Midnight has been vital to Josephine's now-flourishing health. Jacqueline admitted there were times when Josephine was young and would suffer from colic, refusing anything but the mare's milk only Midnight could provide for nourishment.
After three months of bonding, Midnight and Josephine are easily mistaken for mother and daughter, and Jacqueline expressed appreciation to Kim and Jack Wright for their generosity.
"Had it not been for their willingness to share their beautiful mare with us, Josephine's future would have been tenuous at best," Jacqueline mentioned. "After having lost her mother at such an early age, she now has a chance to grow up and lead a fairly normal life at Ridgewood carrying on the 'Biscuit line."
Several other descendents of Seabiscuit also reside at Ridgewood Ranch, including Washoe Valley Sal, Isabel's Pearl, Dashing Lil'Biscuit and Bronze Sea.
Bronze Sea was born on the anniversary of Seabiscuit 's birthday, May 23, 2007, and is a direct descendent of the famous racehorse through her dam, All in Fashion. As a yearling, the purebred thoroughbred Bronze Sea shows much sign of promise on the race track. Hollendorfer, the number-one thoroughbred trainer in California, has expressed interest in Bronze Sea and Jacqueline hopes to watch her race at the track in Santa Anita in 2010--the 70th anniversary of Seabiscuit 's Santa Anita Handicap win.
The horses, Charles Howard's Craftsman home, the mare and stallion barns, and much more, are available for viewing during seasonal ranch walking tours.
The Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization formed to promote the cultural legacy of the Ridgewood Ranch through historic preservation, environmental conservation and public education. To make a contribution or for further information, contact the Seabiscuit Heritage Foundation, @Ridgewood Ranch, 16200 Highway 101, Willits, CA 95460, or firstname.lastname@example.org. The foundation Web site address is www.seabiscuitheritage.org
Published by: Gary Kozel